A Day in Providence

Rhode Island, the Ocean State, may be the smallest state in the United States but its vivacuous, beautiful, and historically rich character make up for its size. Its capital, Providence, is a city that is thriving in the arts and culinary scene. 

The easiest way for us to get to Providence (from Dallas) was to catch the Peter Pan bus at Logan Int’l Airport in Boston. We were dropped off at Kennedy Plaza after an hour drive and from there, it was about 5 minute walk to our hotel, the Hampton Inn and Suites. This hotel is centrally located with just few minutes walk to most restaurants and tourist spots. 


It is across the Woonasquatucket River where Waterplace Park is situated. Waterplace Park is a cobblestone-paved pedestrian walkways along the  waterfront known as Riverwalk. Waterplace Park and Riverwalk are host to the must see WaterFire events, Providence’s most famous event that runs from May through November. WaterFire is a series of bonfires lit on the river accompanied by music. (It’s too bad we missed it by just a week).


We had dinner at Hemenway’s located along the river. We ordered the Rhode Island style calamari which comes with cherry peppers for appetizer (it was delicious!). For our main entree, I had chilled shrimp, crab, and lobster salad  and my son had fried cod and steak fries with truffles. Providence is known for its fresh seafood. 


The next day, we visited the famous RISD Museum of Art. Lucky for me they had the Todd Oldham Fashion exhibit which totally made my day. 


The museum’s collections range from modern and contemporary to 18th and 19th century American, Asian, and Egyptian arts. 

We were blessed with beautiful weather during our visit. A couple of weeks back they had experienced freezing rain and snow. This time the temperatures were in the mid to high 60 degrees (Fahrenheit) and since Providence is best seen on foot, walking around did not pose any problem for us. 


We walked to College Street, and it was an uphill climb to visit Brown University. In my previous post, we are in Providence because my son is attending the admit week at Brown. The student registration wasn’t until 3pm so we decided to get lunch at Ten Prime Steak and Sushi. Since Rhode Island is famous for its seafood, we assumed the sushi was going to be delicious and fresh. 


We ordered the bento box. It came with mixed vegetable tempura, seaweed salad, organic Scottish salmon nigiri, and three pieces of California roll. The sushi was good but not great. What I found interesting was the roasted red pepper tempura. I noticed how they love peppers in Providence. I’ve never really had red pepper tempura before. I actually thought it was delicious. 


After lunch, my son went to Brown to start his admit week activities and I didn’t have to be at the parent welcome reception until 5pm. I decided to tour the John Brown House to kill some time. 


The Browns were wealthy merchants in Rhode Island. They were active in the slave trade and China trade. Of the four brothers, John was the most prominent. He was also instrumental in founding Brown University. 


The house was the first mansion built in Providence. George Washington was the most famous guest at the house (John Brown was apparently very fond of him). According to the tour guide, the above picture was the room used by Benjamin Franklin and George Washington where they had tea while discussing the country’s affairs.  

By 5pm, I attended the Parent Welcome Reception. After the event, I strolled the streets surrounding the university. I found a row of affordable restaurants on Thayer Street (obviously catered to college students). The choices ranged from Indian, Japanese, Korean, Italian to Mediterranean, and many more! 

Providence is such a quaint city. I wish I had more time to explore but I also wanted to visit Newport on my second day (upcoming blog). After seeing both Providence and Newport, I had no idea Rhode Island is that beautiful. In the United States, it is probably among the states that is Rhode less traveled. 

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